Chad Pickett, history senior and Lucas McConnell, philosophy & religion senior, work together to plant four trees behind the mound for the senior class gift on April 20. Each maple tree will represent the four pillars.

Maples make more history at Southwestern, after the 2012 senior class planted four trees behind the mound Friday April 20. Representing; knowledge, hope, courage, and freedom, the trees are named after the four pillars.

The senior class council consists of about 15 students. They began brainstorming ideas for the senior class present at the beginning of the year. They took into consideration what the school needed, so that is where donating trees came from.

Class president, Lucas McConnell, has been working diligently on the class gift. He set a goal to raise 1000 dollars and a little over 1100 dollars was raised. “We sold class shirts for 20 dollars, which was considered a donation, and students received a plaque of their own when they donated,” said McConnell. He very thankful to have so many students contribute, he said as a class the senior gave more money than any class since the 1950s.

Being very encouraged by the response from the class and their participation McConnell thought the trees would please all.

“I didn’t want everyone to say ‘oh just some more trees,’ I wanted them to see it as a monument to the pillars as well,” said McConnell. He says the trees will be a beautiful sight for everyone to see especially in the fall when we see the red, green, and yellow leaves.

Another senior who loves the maples is Caitlin McCurdy, psychology seniors. “I think that the trees are a sustainable gift,” said McCurdy. She said they are not as practical as a bench or a table, but still adds beauty. McCurdy enjoys the fact that the maple trees have a direct connection with the pillars. She wants to be able to bring her family back in the future and tell them how her class planted the trees.

Taking part in the planting process Chad Pickett, history senior, helped dig holes for the trees, as well as plant them. “I think the trees were a great gift idea because it will is something that will last for a while, as well as help with the beautification of the college,” said Pickett. Leaving Southwestern this year, he wanted to make sure he left with one final thing, and that was helping with the trees. “I was glad to be a part of this project, I am anxious to come back in years to come and see the growth of the trees.”

Alissa Sheppard is a senior majoring in communication. You may email her at